The State University of New York at New Paltz needed to expand its 1970 student union building to provide informal gathering spaces for students. In addition, the university wished to change the overall experience of the building, which conveyed an uninspired functional appearance at the gateway to the university.
Inspired by COST PER SQ FT$400.00FEATURED IN2011 Architectural Portfolio regional landscape of the Catskill Mountains, the form and shape of the commons is abstracted from the Shawangunk Ridge, an internationally known rock-climbing palisade that can be seen from the site. The solution in-filled and spanned over an existing underutilized exterior courtyard with a structural tube stress skin system that created the angular forms of the pavilion that metaphorically references the Shawangunk Ridge. Shop- fabricated structural tubes were erected on site like a giant origami assembly. Ceramic fritted glass was placed on top of the stress skin to create the enclosure. The pattern of the ceramic frit is an abstracted digitized version of the tectonic plates of the Shawangunks.
The solution creates an exciting Campus Commons as a steel and glass "palisade" set between two existing concrete Brutalist buildings. It transforms the entry gateway experience to The State University of New York at New Paltz and is designed to LEED silver certification.